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Congolese lament economic hardship

Ibahi Kewbali   -  
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Republic of the Congo

Ibahi Kwebali is a skilled worker and father, while Ngayeli Anny is a shopkeeper and mother of six children.

Both have something in common: they are Congolese and are suffering from the economic crisis linked to the drop in oil price, and more recently the covid 19 pandemic.

Ibahi worked in a construction company, but the decline in business forced the company to shut down.

"At the time, when everything was going well, you couldn't go a week without finding something to do, but now I'm a worker and I sometimes spend three to four months at home, but no one calls me for a job. Because to go to work, the client has to find money to call you" he says. 

Anny Ngayeli on her part has seen her a significant drop in income since she, like hundreds of other traders, was relocated away from the central market due to the current renovation and rehabilitiation project of the market.

"The price of fish has almost doubled from 20 to 38 euros, and it is not selling... When customers arrive, they hesitate on the quality of fish. We are told that we will go back to the big central market, but will there be room for everyone? "- Anny explains.

Like Ibahi and Anny, millions of Congolese are experiencing a harsh economic reality.

But in this uncertain period, there are some signs of hope, such as the construction of a second refinery that could create thousands of jobs.

Jean-Marc THYSTERE TCHICAYA  is Congo's Minister of Hydrocarbons. At the opening launch of the refinery, Tchicaya expressed hopes.

**"It's a modern modular refinery that will eventually produce five million tons of finished products per year. Since priority is given to the employment of our **Congolese compatriots, it is five thousand direct and indirect jobs that will be eventually provided for the Congolese".


After two years of negative economic growth, the Congo has recorded according to the IMF a slight rebound in growth estimated at 1.6 percent in 2018 due to increased oil production.

This rate is expected to stabilize at an average of 1.8 percent between 2020 and 2021, even though  domestic debt remains unsustainable in this country, which is still dependent on variations in the global price of oil.

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